Ringworm is a skin infection which is caused by several fungus organisms known as dermatophytes. It is a fungal infections of the skin resulting in raised red swellings or lines that resemble burrowing worms. Ringworm includes the diseases known as jock itch, athlete’s foot and ringworm of the scalp. Ringworm is not caused by a worm, but rather by a fungus. The fungi that cause ringworm live and spread on the top layer of the skin and on the hair. They grow in warm and moist areas, like locker rooms, swimming pools and even in skin folds.

Although the world is full of yeasts and fungi, only few of them causes skin problems. The fungus known as dermatophytes, which means skin fungi, causes skin problems. Skin fungi can only live on the dead layer of keratin protein on top of the skin. They invade deeper into the body and cannot live on mucous membranes, especially in the mouth or vagina.

Body ringworm (tinea corporis) may be caused by Microsporum, Trichophyton or Epidermophyton. Ringworm generally produces round patches with pink scaly borders and clear area in the center, and sometimes the rash is itchy. It can develop anywhere on the skin and can spread rapidly to other parts of the body or to other people with whom there is close bodily contact. Ringworm is very mildly contagious. Ringworm can be caught from domestic animals, like dogs and cats and other farm animals. Ringworm can also be caught from other person, either by direct or indirect contact.

Ringworm of the scalp may start as a small sore that resembles a pimple before becoming flaky or scaly. Scalp ringworm may cause some hair to fall out or break into stubbles. The infected ares can become tender, swollen and red. Scalp and beard infections may cause baldness. Scalp infections can affect the lymph nodes at the back of the neck, it may become tender and swollen. Inflammation and scaling are usually fairly mild and may look like a patch of dandruff.

Anyone can get ringworm. Scalp Ringworm often strikes young children, outbreaks have been day-care centers, recognized in schools and infant nurseries. School athletes are at also risk for ringworm of the scalp, ringworm of the body and foot Ringworm. Children with young pets are at high risk for ringworm of the body.

There are several other skin conditions that can mimic the ring-like appearance of ringworm. They include contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and seborrhea. But, if treatment for ringworm fails, your doctor may consider other possibilities. Diagnosis is usually made based on the appearance of the typical ringworm rash. Topical steroids are the usual first treatment for ringworm, but this can change the appearance of ringworm, be sure to mention to your pediatrician if you have been applying any topical cream to rashes.